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How Memory Works

Meeting Agenda - June 15, 2003



(GENERAL REMINDER: Please show up on time or a few minutes early, so we can start right at 2, giving plenty of time for both the presentation and free practice sessions.)

15 minutes: Open frame. Those in attendance talk briefly about what's up for them, comments about last month's meeting, ideas and suggestions.


Feature Presentation (approx. 1 hr)

John-Erik Omland will present material from Biological Psychology: how memory works, what is memory, implications for re-imprinting, change personal history, phobia fixes, family systems work and other NLP change processes.

Modern Brain research tells us that we have different sorts of memory functions, based in different centers in the brain. Besides the well known "short-term" and "long-term" memory, there is also the "sensory register", which fuels short-term memory and "working memory", which is important in turning short-term memory into organized long-term memory and for retrieving that memory so it's available again in the present moment. We engage working memory when doing NLP change-work. It is the "handle on the screwdriver" so to speak, that gives us access to the deeper belief structures and their supporting V's and A's and K's.

Just as an individual's "map of reality" is rich and distinctive with unique parts, one's long-term memory is composed of many functionally different types of memory. "Semantic memory" stores context-free verbal facts. "Episodic memory" is highly context rich and what we typically think of as "memory". In reality, this is a sort of "Reader's Digest" version of experience and our conscious brain fills in the rest. (Remember "delete", "distort" and "generalize" from NLP?) "Flash bulb memory" is a special part of episodic memory that stores highly contextualized dramatic events (remember where you were during the 9-11 plane crash?). "Emotive memory" is context free memory associated with the Amigdala and with a brain structure called the hypocampus, which matures in adolescence and is largely unavailable the first year or two of life.

"Spacial memory" is our sense of 3-d space - our physical map of our environment. It allows us to know where we parked the car and where the bathroom is and also how to navigate around in our world. "Procedural memory" is the memory of motor skills: all the "how to's" (drive a car, do Tai CHi, perform a dance piece...)

After about a 1/2 hour presentation, we will either have a group discussion or break into groups of 3 or 4 to discuss the implications of this information to change work sessions we have done with clients and sessions done on ourselves. How does the information presented deepen or change your understanding of how NLP change work works in the human mind? What new insights can you apply to future work with clients?


Free Practice: (rest of time, approx. 1 1/2 hr)

Break into new (or same) groups of 3, work on your stuff with others. Suggest 1 person work for 45 mins, then either switch with meta person or rotate new (programmer, client, meta) positions. Leave 5-10 minutes at end of each round for meta feedback and tea break.


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